A local resident is hoping to land one of two open seats on the State Fair Community College Board of Trustees in the April 3 municipal election.
Cynthia Ann Gray and her husband have lived in Sedalia for about three years. She has extensive education, including a Ph.D. from Cornerstone University in Clinical Christian Counseling and an Ed.D. from Northern Illinois University in Adult Education.
Her career includes more than 30 years with the Illinois Bell Telephone Co. and teaching high school. She is now a licensed clinical pastoral counselor. She is also involved with the American Legion Auxiliary and Boy Scouts of America, and has previously served on a number of boards.
“I’m a new voice, maybe with my experience I bring different ideas to the table,” Gray said of why she decided to run for office. “I know the community college has a good reputation and I know that I want to maintain it. I’m especially interested in online education and promoting online, and the connection with businesses and providing specialized training in businesses.”
Gray said she sees business partnerships as a way to help the college’s tight budget.
“… and so the revenue coming in from businesses that would want certain things done, we would have to charge them for it and setting up a cooperative plan between businesses and the college for the college services,” she explained.
As for improving the recent slight decline in SFCC enrollment, Gray said a better marketing plan is needed.
“My own perception is I haven’t seen enough public information about the college and what they offer,” she said. “I know that with the internet you’re supposed to go online and get all this stuff, but not everybody has internet so I think there should be more brochures. If you go online, there’s a real nice brochure on the literacy program, but I don’t know that they have those any place. I think there should be more public awareness through various types of brochures.”
She said she was “disappointed” the new tax bond or levy to help fund a proposed technical education facility didn’t pass in last year’s municipal election. She acknowledged she didn’t know all the details of the plan for the building’s use, but said she sees the importance of offering technical education at SFCC.
Gray brought up the issue of school safety, noting she was “appalled” to find out the campus has one armed officer on campus.
“Safety of the students is a concern. Whether it’s having various people that are qualified to carry, but I certainly don’t think one person protecting staff and students is enough,” she said.
She is originally from Chicago and has lived in several other states, which she said helps her understand the “mix of people and backgrounds” in Sedalia and could aid in her time on the board.
“(People should vote for me) because of my education and experience and my enthusiasm for the future of State Fair Community College,” she said.